100 simulations

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I am just finishing up a project that performed about 60
automated simulations (using Python with EnergyPlus and
Eppy) for a series of buildings in a bunch of cities. The
power of automating simulations to understand the energy
savings of different measures is very impressive no matter
what tools are being used. It has made me wonder about when
does automation make the most sense during the design
process and what information can be provided to an architect
or entire building design team to encourage low energy
building design. I am thinking one of the most influential
times might be during the architectural programming and
early conceptual design steps. At this point the number of
separate pieces of information is probably low enough that
it could be filled out on a web form:

- number of occupants

- amount of area needed for different types of spaces

- location of the lot lines

- building location

Conceivably, with that information, all sorts of various
building configurations could be created automatically by a
clever script then simulated and the resulting answers

- How many floor building uses the least energy?

- What shape building uses the least energy?

- What is the impact of more roof insulation?

- What is the impact of more or less fenestration on loads
and daylighting?

I would not expect the design team to use any of the
automatically created building models directly but it might
influence the design process in a good way if it was easy to
get and easy to understand. I understand people have been
researching the optimization of these kinds of factors but I
am not sure that is necessary. Maybe just several different
series of simulations illustrating various building options
and their impact onenergy might be enough to get the
discussion going.

- So what questions do you think could be answered by such
an automated system during early conceptual design?

- How would you best convey that information to the
building design team?

- Are there other times that a suite of automated
simulations would make sense?

A lot of useful information could be generated with a
hundred automated simulations!


Jason Glazer, P.E., GARD Analytics, 90.1 ECB chair
Admin for onebuilding.org building performance mailing lists

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